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From modest beginnings HNZ has grown into a internationally recognised helicopter company.

HNZ History

HNZ's operations began in late 1956 using one Bell 47 helicopter, spraying gorse for South Island farmers. More than fifty years on, HNZ operates a fleet of more than 45 helicopters and runs helicopter operations throughout New Zealand, Australia, and South-East Asia, as well as an international reputation for quality and safety earned in the rugged conditions of the Antarctic continent.

A brief history of HNZ

1955 Helicopters NZ founded in Timaru, NZ.

1956 Flying operations commence.

1961 HNZ provides pylon tower construction services for the NZ Electricity Department.

1965 HNZ commences Flight Training (dedicated training ceased in 1980)

1966 Services for oil and mineral clients commence.

1968 Oil exploration and production support services commence.

1970 First marine pilot transfer services provided at Waipipi, North Island, New Zealand.

1979 HNZ provides 2 Hughes 500D helicopters to Antarctica in support of West German expedition.

1990 HNZ provides seismic support services in Myanmar.

1992 Helicopters (Australia) Pty Ltd becomes part of HNZ.

1993 Helicopters New Zealand sets up operation based in Laos and Cambodia.

1996 Southern Lakes Helicopters (Glacier Helicopters Ltd) becomes part of HNZ.

2005 Singapore regional office opens

2008 Operation of Woodside contract commences out of Karratha, W.A.

2009 Helicopters New Zealand forms joint venture with Canada's VIH Cougar Helicopters - HNZ Cougar Helicopters Pty Ltd.

2011 Woodside contract completed.

2011 Canadian Helicopters Group Inc. acquires the HNZ Group with the HNZ Cougar Helicopters Pty Ltd and Glacier Helicopters Limited joint ventures being separated from the HNZ Group.

2012 Company names within group changed to:

  • HNZ New Zealand Limited
  • HNZ Australia Pty Limited
  • HNZ Lao

2012 Renewed contract with Rio Tinto in Australia. It is extended for 10 years from May 2013.

2012 Parent company, Canadian Helicopters Group, Inc renamed as HNZ Group, Inc.

2012 Awarded offshore oil and gas helicopter support contract with Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. in the Philippines.  Operation to commence in September 2013.  Aircraft type will be AgustaWestland AW139.

2012 HNZ Topflight advanced helicopter training school established in Nelson.

2012 First of 3 AgustaWestland 109SP GrandNew introduced into service. These are replacement helicopters for the EC145 assigned to the Rio Tinto Contract.

2013 Sale of Helicopters (Cambodia) Pte Limited is confirmed in December.

  • To commemorate the first fifty years of HNZ's operations, the company proudly published a book "Take Off - the Helicopters (NZ) story".


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